Senin, 07 November 2011

Man Lost

Men never get lost. Women know the opposite to be true, because men will resist any suggestions from a woman to prove that he isn't lost. Last weekend the ambassador and I set out from Luxembourg for a long bike ride in the country. We missed the train to our original destination, because I got on the wrong train. My friend was on the opposite side of the platform. She deboarded and out train took off on schedule.I finally realized my mistake and leapt off the train with seconds to spare before its departure."Sorry."My friend shook her head and we caught a north-bound local to Wilderwiltz twenty minutes later. She said nothing about my error. The ambassador was a good sport and it was a sunny day.The road from the train station to Wiltz was a steady uphill slog through fir plantations and hilly pastures. "Next time let's pick a station that is on top of a hill." "Like Wiltz?" We were walking our bikes. Riding them wasn't any faster."Yes." We coasted down to Wiltz. The town had nothing to offer other than a small supermarket, where we purchased our lunch; bread and cheese for the ambassador and two cans of beer for me.A bicycle path coasted along the Wiltz River to Kautenbach, which was the nearest train station on the main line. We stopped by a small bench and had our picnic. I drank one can and saved the second for later. After policing the area for trash I looked at the map and pointed out our route. The ambassador had forgotten her reading glasses and asked, "Does it go downhill?""Yes." Rivers run toward the sea, even in landlocked Luxembourg."Then that's good with me." We had already put in 12 kiliometers and Kautenbach was 11 klicks from our picnic area. The valley was deep and the sun skated along the southern ridge. The foliage had surrendered its colors and our bikes lifted roostertails of rusty leaves. After crossing the river road became a dirt trail. We rode with care. I had no health insurance. The trail swung back to the river. There was no bridge. A crooked log traversed the stream. The water slid over mossy stones."I'll carry the bikes over and lift them up to on the other side."The ambassador and I were a good team and on the other bank we crossed a meadow to a paved road rising along the slop. The map marked a lower line for the bike path. A dirt trail descended to the valley floor. A hiking couple passed in the opposite direction. I figured they were coming from Kautenbach. "We go this way.""Are you sure?""I'm only following the map."We rode on for another half-mile. The trail became a deer run. It was less than a half-meter wide."A problem.""Are we lost?""We're not lost. I know where we are and where we are going, but this is not the way." I explained to the ambassador."Sounds lost to me.""No," I wouldn't admit that possibility. I was a man. We are never lost. "We're not lost.""Close to it." She turned around her bike."I agree, but there's another word for it.""Amissa?" Oxford had awarded her a first in Latin."That means lost." I had been an altar boy at Our Lord's Aunt Church south of Boston. I knew my dead languages too."MIslaid." Her second offering was almost right for the situation. We were retracing our tracks."Strayed."Better yet."Disoriented."Getting cold."Confused." "No, my head is screwed on straight." I could handle for than one beer before I was confounded by the situation. "Sort of lost is a step down from lost.""That's almost an admission of lost. I've never heard that from a male." We were back on the tarred road. "There's a first for everything.""Is this the right way.""It is going uphill.""What did I say about that?" She only wanted downhill roads. I was in complete agreement. My legs burned from the exertion, as we rose some five hundred feet over the valley. A bike path shadowed the train tracks. Neither of us commented on it. We were committed to this road. At the top of the hill a road sign was marked KAUTENBACH 8."We were lost and now we're found."I was too tired to argue and we rode our bikes down to Kautenbach.It was all downhill.

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